Yesterday, the Mail On Sunday’s political editor Simon Walters penned another instalment in his characteristically tenacious examination of the bullying culture within Tory activists, headlined “Cabinet Minister in sex blackmail plot: Politician confesses to affair after Cameron aide is accused of scheme to film trysts”. Neither the minister, nor the young woman briefly involved with him, was named.
Elliott Johnson in happier times: Mark Clarke at rear
However, when Walters told “The Minister’s lover was warned that a Tory ally of [Mark] Clarke, Sam Armstrong, planned to film the couple leaving the East India Club in the heart of London’s clubland so that Clarke could ‘blackmail’ the Minister to gain political favours”, the process of deduction was straightforward. There is only one cabinet minister who is also a member of the East India Club, and that minister is Rob Halfon.
Indeed, Halfon’s local paper the Harlow Star mentioned recently, “Mr Halfon is also entitled to a disability allowance which pays for occasional overnight accommodation at the members-only East India Club in central London, where the average cost of a single room is £84 per night – considerably lower than room rates in hotels near Westminster”. And so it has come to pass that the Telegraph has now named Halfon.
Rob Halfon: universally popular and respected
What the Tel is not telling its readers is the name of the young woman involved, and that is significant: Clarke may have believed he could exert leverage upon her, given her ascent to the top of Tory youth organisation Conservative Future (CF) depended to no small extent upon Clarke’s highly questionably methods. My information is that the name in the frame is Alexandra Paterson, chairman of CF.
Zelo Street regulars will recall that Clarke had effectively endorsed Ms Paterson for the post last year, after incumbent Oliver Cooper was “taken aside” at a drinks reception and given the hard word. Local CF groups were effectively told to fall in behind Ms Paterson’s candidature or lose funding. It all appeared to have Mark Clarke’s grubby fingerprints all over it. And it is for that reason that Clarke may have believed he would get away with it.
Alexandra Paterson: a pawn in Clarke's dirty game
The reasoning was straightforward: he could reason that he had made her, and so by the same token, he could just as easily break her. Did she want to retain her place on the greasy pole or slide back down it into oblivion? But it didn’t work: Ms Paterson, who it is believed was herself subjected to blackmail threats by Clarke, after it is alleged he videoed her using a controlled substance, would not play ball.
And he picked on the wrong MP to blackmail: there are few who command respect across the political spectrum, and Rob Halfon is one of them. When he says “Mark Clarke is an appalling man - I wish I had never met him. I was stupid. I hope to repair my relationship with my partner”, there will be understanding and sympathy for him. But there will be no such understanding for Mark Clarke, and certainly no sympathy.
What there will be is a further call for the Tories to hand their inquiry over to the Metropolitan Police. No ifs, no buts, no sweeping under the carpet, no squaring, no squashing. Or did Elliott Johnson somehow get forgotten?
Notwithstanding breaches of the law.....honestly, does anybody give a shit which tory is shagging which tory or clubbing each other to get a better "position"? They're all gobshites anyway.
Far better to do what a friend of mine did years ago. He copped off with the local tory party female membership secretary, got her into bed, got her to the point of blowing her biscuits......and then told her he was in the local Communist Party.
Yes, puerile and childish I know. But funny as fuck.
He's been a bit quiet lately, has my MP. Making him A Minister Without Portfolio and deputy chairman of the party had seemed to clip his wings.
Perhaps he'll now lose those positions and go back to rocking the boat a bit. Someone needs to.
I seriously wish the media would stop making out these "victims" to be o so young and innocent. Isn't Alexandra Paterson 29 or 30 years old? They're all gross people and it suited them all to play ball with Mark when it suited them, now the shit's hit the fan they're all turning on each other. Makes me totally ashamed to be a Tory. I support Tory government politics for sure, but the thought of having to do any sort of future campaigning with these people makes me sick and I'm not just talking about Mark and his dickhead "friends." Too many wanker members in the Tory party, many coming from that awful CF London/Westminster based lot, it's a breeding ground for future Mark Clarke's (male & female).
According to MOS Alexandra Paterson found out about the blackmail plot in May. Yet she was still happy to go Ascot with Mark Clarke and and then participate in an orgy afterwards...
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